OFWs returning to provinces must undergo quarantine, COVID-19 test-local officials

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The League of Provinces of the Philippines on Tuesday said Tuesday that repatriated OFWs returning to provinces should undergo quarantine and COVID-19 test even if they were already tested and quarantined before. 

COVID-19 OFWs
Image from Rappler

“Galing po sila sa labas at nagsisiguro lang po kami sa mga probinsiya na general community quarantine na po,” said Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco, the group’s president, in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

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(They came from outside and we just want to secure the provinces that are now under general community quarantine.)

“Natatakot din po. May agam-agam dahil baka po merong carrier pa rin kahit po asymptomatic ay possible carriers. Doble ingat lang pp,” he added.

(It’s scary. We have doubts because some of them are possible carries even if they are asymptomatic.)

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Velasco, chairman of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), asked the OFWs and their families to understand the situation, noting the residents’ sacrifices to stop the virus from spreading in their communities. 

The governor also said most provinces would require the OFWs to undergo quarantine at their homes or in a designated facility. This is even if the OFWs already overstayed in quarantine facilities in Metro Manila while waiting for the results of their COVID-19 test, which is also a requirement for them to go home.

Also read: OFW complains about QC hotel converted into quarantine facility

Duterte: bring home OFWs who tested negative for COVID-19

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Monday night to bring the 24,000 OFWs to their home provinces within the week.

The President reiterated that only the national government could impose travel restrictions and not local governments.

“Nobody but nobody and only the national government can impose restrictions on travel. It’s the only agency that can declare that there’s an emergency of national interest, and that power of declaration is not shared by anybody, it’s the national government,” Duterte said in a public address.

“It is the constitutional right of people to travel and go home. Do not impede it, do not obstruct the movement of people because you run the risk of getting sued criminally,” he added.

“It is very cruel to deny them to go home,” Duterte had said.

“In their desire to protect their respective turf, territories, I can say that if that is the way they would handle it like somebody who is really a chieftain of a city or a province during a pandemic time, okay yan,” Duterte said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año meanwhile assured Duterte that all 24,000 OFWs in quarantine facilities tested negative for COVID-19

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